The dates are set. From February 13th until February 18th 2014, AEGEE members will gather in Lublin to take part in EBM. An event organised not only by AEGEE-Lublin, but in cooperation with other Polish antennae. The AEGEEan interviewed the main coordinator Jakub Oleksy to get an update on the event.
Jakub: We have done a lot of things concerning particular logistics, including finding accommodation and meeting places for the workshops, as well as developing promotion and a database of potential partners.
The AEGEEan: What are the next steps in the organisation of the event?
Jakub: The next step is to get further funding for this big project, including the Visegrad grant. We will also deal with the promotion of the project, social program and other organisational matters. Promotion of EBM will not only be through Facebook, but also through our website, YouTube and other media. In Zaragoza we will show up with a strong team, and do promotion there as well.
What is on most people’s minds when talking about organising a statutory event is fundraising (FR). Chema Rueda mentioned how the crisis is making it more difficult to gather funds and EBM coordinator Jakub Oleksy agrees. “Fundraising is a difficult task, but the scale of a project, a steadfastness of purpose, and eligibility make it easier than it would seem at first.”
Seeing that this task is so difficult, we decided to ask former Agora organisers to share their experience with gathering funds. Jannes Rupf and Alex Sieber from the organising team of Agora Rhein-Neckar were ready to answer all our questions.
So we asked them what the main obstacles were, when dealing with FR for Agora Rhein-Neckar and how they overcame them.
Jannes: The biggest obstacle was to find the first sponsors. Once we found them, we could use them as a reference and attract other new sponsors. But having none at the beginning was the most difficult bit.
Did it help that you had many antennae helping with the matter?
Jannes: Actually you would expect it to help having a lot of antennae involved in the FR, but as long as there are not any direct contacts to the companies it is quite difficult to do fundraising successfully.
Have you discussed this in the Knowledge Transfer to AEGEE-Zaragoza?
Alex: We had already discussed some issues during Agora Rhein-Neckar. There has also been some communication after the Agora, but I expect that most of KT will take place during the two months before Agora, as this is also the period during which we had a lot of questions to the organisers of Agora Budapest.
Following the interview with Agora Rhein-Neckar organisers it was time to go further back in time and talk with the main organiser of Agora Budapest: Márton Demeter. Márton gave us more details on the same topic but also how organising such a big event has affected AEGEE-Budapest as an antenna.
Márton: FR does not only mean that there is a huge, rich and nice company that you just have to call and then they give you a pile of Euros. It is a bit more complicated: you can get cash, you can get products (FR ‘in kind’), you can get services, discounts, private donations and checks paid by someone else. We had all of these and thank God it was enough. It sounds easy, but it is not. Definitely not.
In the meantime the crisis is going on and the companies do not have enough money even for their own needs, so it was a really tough job. Usually if you have a list of 100 companies, you try to contact them, and 10 out of 100 will tell you that they might be interested. Usually 1 of these 10 will give you something. It is really demotivating that you get a lot of negative answers, but once you got a supportive one, that really rocks!
What really helped us was that we organized calling days, meaning the Agora team gathered in the office and called every single company we got in our contact database. Plus we recruited a lot of helpers for FR, not only experienced AEGEEans but also very fresh members! Any time we had any success in FR we posted it on Facebook so our members saw that we are doing something with tangible results and the very hard work of FR team members was also appreciated!
What did the Agora mean to your local financially?
Our budget was around €55.000. Around 50% was covered by the participation fee and the rest was covered by other sources.
In our partnership list we had non-governmental organisations, governmental organisations, universities, EU institutions, embassies, small local companies, state companies and also huge multinational corporations. Plus, it was very nice that we had private donations as well. The Agora team got a very decent amount of seed money from the board in order to start to organize the Agora and at the end we closed our budget with positive balance, which can be an indicator of success.
We hope the same will happen for AEGEE-Zaragoza and AEGEE-Lublin.
Written by Patricia Anthony, AEGEE-Koebenhavn